For a few days now we’ve been in Bucharest, visiting the mother in law and getting ready for a quick visit to Eforie Nord – this year’s destination for our summer vacation. I’ve never been a huge fan of the city, especially because it’s huge size makes it a big time waster (for somebody coming from a small city where everything is within 15 minutes of walking, having to ride the subway for 40 minutes to visit some friends is a big turn off…)
However, I’m now starting to see thing that I didn’t see in the past and can say that in the last few days, Bucharest managed to disappoint me greatly: here is how.
First, we decided to visit one of the best known parks in Bucharest – Cismigiu. Situated in the heart of the city, Cismigiu was always welcoming: there are always events taking place there, the kids and adults can check out the peacocks and swans (including black swans) and a few other types of birds that are being kept there, or you can simply enjoy a drink near the lake, enjoying the nature. Doing a quick Google Image search for Cismigiu, you see an idyllic place:
However, the reality is completely different and it will look something like this:
I was shocked to see how dirty Cismigiu actually is and how much it has been ignored in the past. A lot of it is because of the people (bottles, wrappers and all sort of trash) is almost everywhere, especially in the water, but also leaves and a ton of pigeon poop.
Nobody seems to ever clean the place: there are areas where it smells so bad because of the poop that it’s unbearable. The special places where the kids play are dirty – horribly dirty – and everything looks like it’s been ignored for a looong time.
Bucharest is a dirty city. There are still a lot of people who throw away trash on the streets (it happens everywhere in Romania, that’s true), most people don’t clean after their dogs – and things are insanely ugly in very crowded areas with lots of dogs, while many buildings are starting to show their age and nobody seems to care.
The people are not nice at all, they’re always in a hurry, they are always loud, they leave the impression of a truly uneducated bunch. Taking the subway will always be surprising and maybe even shocking. Things that should attract tourists, places that are actually visited by tourists are ignored and look like crap. People act like crap:
I was in a store near Cismigiu, on our way home, and a tourist asked an employee where is the Palace of Parliament (or something similar, I didn’t really understand). The employee started laughing at her because she didn’t know where that was. A tourist, a lady with two kids and a huge camera.
Somebody who was probably visiting the city for the first time… it’s true, the employee told here where to go, but the reaction was completely wrong and stupid.
Not all the people in Bucharest are as described above and there are still a lot of nice places (and parks, yes) to visit. But, all in all, I think that this city is the most over-rated in Romania.
It’s disappointing and I believe that if I were a tourist (which I mostly am since I am not living here), I would be completely, completely disappointed with it.
So my advice, unless you really want to visit Bucharest or you have to, or you really know what to expect and what you will get, is to stay away from Bucharest. Or at least visit more than Bucharest because otherwise you might be disappointed. I always am.
Edit: I don’t really want to make this article anti-Bucharest or anti-Romania. I am usually trying to show the beautiful and the nice things that make the country a perfect one to visit or retire to and I am surely not making things up.
But it’s not all sugar and honey, sparkles and fireworks. This is the real Romania – and like all countries there, it has its pros and cons.